A Great Second ‘Namesake Visit’
Crew members visited New Jersey this past weekend for the second of our ‘namesake visits’ where we introduce the crew to NJ and NJ to the crew. Each visit is intended to highlight aspect of New Jersey’s history, economy, and culture and to let as many people in NJ as possible know about what will be the third US Navy warship to proudly carry the name USS NEW JERSEY.
The following is a summary of the weekend – more details and photos to follow.
This weekend started on Friday with a visit to the Battleship New Jersey (BB62) which is to be a regular feature on all visits as the battleship passes the baton to the submarine. As usual the folks at the BB62 put on a great tour, which this time included a Q&A session with their own volunteers.
Following the BB62 the crew members travelled to Colts Neck to meet a variety of youth groups as well as United States Submarine Veterans. The Q&A was extensive as everyone seemed highly engaged.
The evening concluded with a visit to a local country club where the crew were given the VIP treatment.
Thanks to Pete Engelman, Jake Willard, Joe Lazario, Joe Velez and all the folks at the BB62 involved in making Friday go so well.
Saturday was Army:Navy day at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Before heading to the game the commissioning committee took the crew to breakfast at the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton. Many of the crew were unfamiliar with such classic NJ/NY diners and such NJ staples as Taylor Ham (or pork roll if you are from southern NJ) and ‘Disco Fries’. Pretty sure we got a couple of converts!
Prior to the game itself the crew and committee members were warmly welcomed by Representative Mike Sherrill as a pre-game ‘tailgate party’ in the parking lot. Representative Sherrill was generous with her time including conducting the promotion ceremony for one of the crewmen. Sherrill is a former Navy helicopter pilot.
The crew and committee members were then ushered into the stadium prior to kickoff to spend time on the sidelines soaking up the atmosphere and taking photos.
Prior to kickoff the crew were then taken to their seats where they watched the game. At one point they were then invited to join Governor Murphy who gave them a warm welcome and spent time with them in his suite. Governor Murphy was one of the main speakers last month in Virginia at the christening ceremony held at the Huntingdon Ingalls Industries Ship Building facility.
The submarine and committee’s logos were briefly displayed on the Jumbotron to let everyone in the stadium know about the boat and the crew.
After Navy beat Army! – the crew had liberty time and returned to their accommodations at NWS Earle in Colts Neck, NJ.
Thanks to Bill Squires and Paul Blodgett for helping make this such a great day.
On Sunday we ventured just outside of New Jersey onto the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River for the reenactment of the Continental Army’s crossing which led to the Battle of Trenton. The crew were given VIP treatment with a personal guide talking through the events of that fateful day. George Washington joined us for a quick greeting and photo opportunity before joining his militia to prepare for attacking the Hessians.
The crew were guided down to the water’s edge where they were invited to board one of the boats to be used in the crossing and some more photos. They were then ushered to a private cordoned off area where they had an excellent view of the parading of troops and boarding of the boats for the crossing itself. While there they were given three Huzzahs by the approximately 4,000 visitors attending the event.
Thanks to Bill Aitken for being our committee point person on this day, and to the Friends of Washington Crossing Park who organize this event each year, and were such generous hosts.
All in all a great weekend and a lot of committee members did an outstanding job of bringing things together. Bravo Zulu team!